Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
The Crippled God: Book Ten of The Malazan Book of the Fallen Paperback – March 1, 2011
|New from||Used from|
Frequently Bought Together
Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought
“Extraordinarily enjoyable . . . Erikson is a master of lost and forgotten epochs, a weaver of ancient epics.” ―Salon.com on The Malazan Book of the Fallen Series
“Erikson has no peer when it comes to action and imagination, and joins the ranks of Tolkien and Donaldson in his mythic vision and perhaps then goes one better.” ―SF Site on The Malazan Book of the Fallen Series
“Gripping, fast-moving, delightfully dark, with a masterful and unapologetic brutality reminiscent of George R. R. Martin…Utterly engrossing.” ―Elizabeth Haydon on The Malazan Book of the Fallen Series
“A multilayered tale of magic and war, loyalty and betrayal. Complexly drawn characters occupy a richly detailed world in this panoramic saga.” ―Library Journal on The Malazan Book of the Fallen Series
“This masterwork of imagination may be the high-water mark of epic fantasy.” ―Glen Cook on The Malazan Book of the Fallen Series
“The kind of epic narrative that will have you scrambling for more.” ―Stephen R. Donaldson on The Malazan Book of the Fallen Series
About the Author
Steven Erikson is an archaeologist and anthropologist and a graduate of the Iowa Writers' Workshop. His Malazan Book of the Fallen series, including Dust of Dreams, Toll the Hounds and Reaper's Gale, have met with widespread international acclaim and established him as a major voice in the world of fantasy fiction. The first book in the series, Gardens of the Moon, was shortlisted for a World Fantasy Award. The second novel, Deadhouse Gates, was voted one of the ten best fantasy novels of 2000 by SF Site. He lives in Canada.
If you buy a new print edition of this book (or purchased one in the past), you can buy the Kindle edition for only $2.99 (Save 70%). Print edition purchase must be sold by Amazon. Learn more.
For thousands of qualifying books, your past, present, and future print-edition purchases now lets you buy the Kindle edition for $2.99 or less. (Textbooks available for $9.99 or less.)
Top Customer Reviews
The Crippled God has been billed as the second half of Dust of Dreams, with Dreams described as all set-up and Crippled as all-resolution. That's an exaggeration: Erikson spends the first three hundred pages or so setting things up and clearing his throat rather than cutting to the chase, but at the same time that's less than some of the other books. We still get lengthy philosophical discussions between lowly grunts which are rather unconvincing, but frankly the people for whom that's a major problem will have dropped the series long ago. Fortunately Erikson is somewhat less obtuse in this novel than in any previous ones. On occasion he even resorts to - gasp! - actually telling us what the hell is going on. This new, more reader-friendly Erikson who respects traditional narrative techniques a bit more than previously takes a little getting used to.
The Crippled God is also the book that stands alone the least well out of the series, as it picks up after a huge cliffhanger ending. Erikson seems to enjoy the fact that he doesn't need to do as much set-up as normal and throws in everything including the kitchen sink into the mix. Previews and author interviews suggested that quite a few storylines and character arcs from previous novels would not be addressed here, which is mostly focused on the Crippled God and Bonehunter arcs, so it's a surprise that as many characters and events from previous novels (including some of Esslemont's) show up as they do, and most of the few who don't are at least mentioned.
There's also a growing circularity to events. This appears to be Erikson's way of showing the readers that the Malazan series wasn't as incoherent and chaotic as it has often appeared, but there was a masterplan all along. He mostly pulls this off very well, with some storylines and characters which initially appeared very random now being revealed to be integral to the series.
Erikson's biggest success in The Crippled God is with avoiding the nihilism that has occasionally crept into previous books by emphasising the overriding theme of the Malazan series, which has always been compassion. Heroism and self-sacrifice, amongst common soldiers and gods alike, abounds in this book. Erikson pushes forward the message that true heroism is reached when it is performed unwitnessed with no singers or writers to celebrate it later. There is tragedy here, as each victory only comes at a tremendous cost, but less so than in earlier volumes. With everything on the table - the warrens, the gods, the world, humanity and ever other sentient being on the planet - the Bonehunters and their allies simply cannot afford to fail, even if it means crossing a desert of burning glass, facing down betrayal or forging alliances with old enemies, and Erikson has the reader rooting for them every step of the way.
His prose skills are as strong as ever, and in fact are strengthened by not having as much time to pontificate. There's a clarity to Erikson's writing here which is refreshing. Erikson's battle mojo is also back in full swing, with the engagements described with an appropriate amount of chaos and desperation.
Character-wise, Erikson is back to being a mixed bag. Some of the soldiers are ciphers but others come through very strongly (Silchas Ruin's motives and actions are a lot more comprehensible now). The Shake in particular are much-improved. Ublala Pung serves as great comic relief, and, whilst they don't appear as such, the presence of both Tehol and Kruppe are felt, lending much-needed moments of sunshine amidst the darkness. Erikson's choice of which characters to build up in depth and which to skim over during the preceding nine books makes a lot more sense as well, as it's some of the best-realised and most intriguing that bite the dust here. Characters die, and, mostly, it hurts when they go. If one in particular doesn't trigger at least a lower-lip tremble amongst most readers, I'd be shocked.
There are weaknesses. After all the set-up, the actual grand finale is appropriately epic (eclipsing even the gonzoid-insane conclusion to Dust of Dreams), but at the same time a number of other side-stories are still not fully resolved. Depending on the reader, this will be either okay or infuriating. More problematic is that we go from the grand convergence though multiple epilogues to the final page in a very short space of time: there is little time spent on the aftermath and a few more mundane questions about what happened to certain characters are left unanswered. There is also the problem that, at two key points in the narrative, Erikson reaches outside the scope of The Crippled God to basically tap other characters from several books to do something vitally important to the resolution. It's not deus ex machina - it's all been set up quite well, in one case from nine books back - but it does feel a bit odd that everything comes down to relying on a character who is only in the novel for two pages.
There's also a fair amount of scene-setting for Esslemont's next few books (particularly the next one due later this year, set in Darujhistan) which is a little incongruous, though it does feel good to know that the world and the saga will continue. Erikson resolves enough that a primary fear - that this is merely Book 10 in a 22-book series rather than a grand finale - is averted, but not enough so that there won't be some grumbling.
Particularly well-handled are the final events in the book. Some may accuse Erikson of sentimentality here - though he's never been as dark and nihilistic as say Bakker - as he gives a few characters some happy endings and closes the vast circle that began so long ago, but it is a fitting and affecting ending.
The Crippled God (****½) marks the end of this crazy, awesome, infuriating, awe-inspiring, frustrating series, but fortunately not the end of this crazy, awesome, infuriating, awe-inspiring but frustrating author's career. The Malazan Book of the Fallen bows out in fine style. The novel is available now in the UK and USA.
World Building: A+
Erikson is second to none in creating a rich fantasy world. 100,000+ years of history, 5+ races with their own customs, history, and gods leads to a very in depth and enjoyable world. Outstanding effort and a watermark for all of fantasy.
I really enjoyed a lot of the characters in Erickson's series. Gruntle (mostly), Quick Ben, Baudin, Brys, the Bridgburners and Bonehunters, Karsa, Krupp, the list goes on and on. They were flushed out, and we even got a rare glimpse in the past for a few of the characters. Plus, Erikson created Tehol, the best king ever.
Motivations of the mortal Characters: B (except the Paran clan)
For the most part, the motivations of the characters are well explained.
Erikson can and should stick to battles. He has a lot of clarity the battles are all exciting.
Non-magical Descriptions: A+
Lot's of good writing in the series. He paints wonderful pictures of corrupt empires and desolate plains and masterfully weaves in the history of each location.
Story Arcs: C+/B-
This one pains me a bit. Erikson has some of the best story arcs ever in fantasy: Coltaine's march, Gruntle's arc, the fall of the corrupt Letharii empire, the crawl of the Bonehunters through the burned out city, Karsa's journey from home. Taken alone, they are wonderful examples of modern fantasy. How they tie back into the main arcs are pretty disappointing. Then there are the arcs that made the series feel long, and upon finishing felt very out of place: Nimander and crew, anything with the Tiste Liosin, the Shake, post siege Gruntle (sad to see him misused), the Parish, Sin and Grub, Toc the Younger, some of the Imass, the unending toil in Dragnipur.
Lot's of Gods and immortals. There is the good, the bad, and the ugly. Shape shifting D'ivers immortals, shape shifting dragon immortals. A pantheon of deus ex machina to add an extra flavor to the story and motivate and push characters along.
First off, Erikson gets high marks for actually completing his work. He set out to write an epic and delivers. However, I personally feel it could have been trimmed and a lot of fat removed. A lot of the philosophical talk didn't seem particularly deep and revealing. A lot of the story arcs felt out of place as well.
Imagine Erikson is teaching you how to swim. Imagine you don't speak the language. Imagine he throws you in the deep end and starts explaining how to swim. Welcome to the Malazan series. I kept hoping that as the series progressed, certain things would become clear and looking back I could rave about how brilliant it all fit together. Alas, upon finishing the series this was not the case. This is all the more disappointing because he has some really cool stuff that just isn't explained or utilized well. Do the Deck of Dragons readings do anything? How does a mortal become aspected to a god? How does one become an Eleint? Explain Mother Dark a bit more. Why are they helping the Crippled God? Explain the Azoth houses more. Why and how does it entrap people? All the different thrones and gods aspecting and de-aspecting, what is the point? Explain Burn and T'iam more. They seem like key immortal figures/gods but why is very unclear. Why are there so many god's of war? What is the point of becoming a "royal card" in the Deck of Dragons?
Motivations of the Gods/Immortals: D (including the Paran clan)
It is still very unclear why some of the gods are banding together to help out the poor old crippled god. Errastas and crew clearly want anarchy and to sit on the pile when the dust settles. Shadowthrone, Cotillion, Mael, K'Rul, Ganoes, Tavore, D'rek? It is very unclear what motivations they have and why they do what they do.
System of Magic: F^F
Erikson can't do magic. He sets up a good framework: warrens are magic supplied by the elder god K'Rul's blood. Cool. After that, magic loses all cohesion and becomes this plot device that is used over and over to effect a major plot change or get a character out of a jam. It becomes this amorphous sonic screwdriver device that does what is needed to fit the plot. Yes, I am aware that this is a fantasy novel, but other authors in the genre have put a little logic into their systems and used magic as a tool and not a crutch. There were to many WTF moments involving magic. Besides, the best parts of the series are when he doesn't use magic. Gruntle's battle against the Cannibal horde, the entire fall of Lethar (the battles had magic), Karsa's journey, Coltaine's march were all light on magic and were crown jewels in the series.
I am a bit torn on this, I would recommend parts of the series to friends, for sure. Again, Coltaine's march, Gruntle, Tehol and company, the fall of the Edur and Lethari empires. These are all excellent pieces of writing. Taken as a whole though, I just can't bring myself to recommend the series. It feels to long, un-distilled, and wandering and I found myself struggling to get through parts. There were also a lot of moments where "magic happened" and really ruined the flow of the writing. Contrast this to a work like George R.R. Martin, where even non-fantasy folks (my wife, sister, mom, dad) can really tear into them and want more. I really want to like the series, and at some point may re-read it, but there will be a lot of page skipping over the weaker parts of the book that will save me a lot of time.
With The Crippled God, Erikson seems to be content with the narrative rock bottom he hit in books eight and nine. That mass of underdeveloped and under thought characters, The Malazan Marines continue to bore, having turned from a few interesting characters into a cast of 20-30 names that all speak with the same salt-of-the-earth country sounding accent. He also continues with the pages shallow philosophical insights that any of us could have inferred through competent plot development. But the worst of it is that he's lost track of the characters people cared about, tossing them aside for new, half baked ones. Spread so thin, there is little he can do in this final book to really satisfy the reader.
It feels like a case of writer burnout. A work that started as something different, a remedy in fact, seems to have lost itself in demands of length. You will, of course, read the book. But know that you don't have to, and that in reading it you'll likely look back with nostalgia on those early books, wondering, with each passing page, where it all went so wrong.